Friday, January 18, 2013

Andy's Brain Blog Brain Food: Mom's Homemade Granola

You can really taste the vitamins

Back in the good old days, when I first started graduate school, I had a hard time coming up with a good snack for those long afternoon stretches between lunch at noon and going home around two-thirty. Fortunately, I recently rediscovered this classic recipe, which is sweet, delicious, nutritious, and packed with enough fiber to keep your hunger at bay for long periods of time.

You may ask, why is it called Mom's Homemade Granola? Maybe because it's my Mom's recipe, and because she makes it at home. If it were called Goathumper Bill's Granola, you would expect it to be made by some crazy guy out on a farm somewhere diddling livestock. Pay attention.

Anyway, the ingredients are:

  • 1 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1/4 cup wheat germ (not toasted)
  • 1/4 cup sweetened flaked coconut
  • 1/4 cup coarsely broken cashews
  • 1/4 cup coarsely broken walnuts or pecans
  • 3 teaspoons sesame seeds (or sunflower seeds)
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon light molasses
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup chopped dried apricots

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and then mix the first six ingredients in a large bowl. Whisk the maple syrup and next four ingredient in a medium bowl. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients; stir to coat evenly. Transfer to a large rimmed baking sheet and spread out the mixture in an even layer. Bake for 8 minutes and then stir, bringing the bottom layer to the top. Bake for 8 minutes longer until golden brown, and then mix in the raisins and apricots. Bake until the fruit is heated through and the granola is slightly darker, and cool completely on the sheet.

I tend to put aluminum foil on the baking sheet and then spread the mixture on top of that; that way, it prevents any of the mixture from sticking to the pan, and you can pick up the foil and funnel the entire mixture easily into a container. Lastly, I also like to substitute agave nectar for the syrup; its viscosity is somewhere in between maple syrup and honey, and I think it tastes better after it is baked. In any case, whatever you do, don't tell Goathumper Bill, or his childhood friend, Melvin the Melon Mounter.

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